A cold light rain was falling outside and the sun was already beginning to set on the last day of classes, but the Campus Center was abuzz on Friday, Dec. 13, as the students lucky enough to participate in fall Praxis courses showed off their many varied experiences with a poster session.
Among the students presenting was Uba Ogidi '22, who worked with the DMax Foundation as part of the Social Justice and Social Change Seminar, led by faculty adviser Nate Wright, Assistant Professor of Sociology.
"One of my biggest takeaways from this experience was learning that to do this sort of work, you also have to take care of yourself," says Uba, whose poster included "advice for future interns at a non-profit."
Through various initiatives, the DMax Foundation looks to help young people get help with mental health issues. While the work can be incredibly fulfilling, it can also be difficult.
"At times you're dealing with serious issues and that can have an effect on you. What I found out in doing this work is that it's okay to say you need to take a step back sometimes," Uba says. "You can't help others if you aren't taking care of yourself."
Marcia Adams '21 and Tatiana Perez '20 both did Praxis Independent Study courses at the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. Both students were advised by Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology Jennie Bradbury.
Marcia worked with Katherine Blanchard '00, The Fowler/Van Santwood Keeper of the Near Eastern Collections, who, in her 11 years at UPenn has had nearly 20 Bryn Mawr students work at the museum.
"I know the rigor of their academic work," said Blanchard. "So, it's incredibly rewarding to me to be able to supplement that with this type of invaluable real-world experience. These students are working with material I only saw in a textbook."
Tatiana, who did an internship at the museum during the summer, returned to continue helping in the artifact lab but also expanded her duties to include public outreach, including doing 15-minute Daily Dig presentations.
"For the Daily Digs, I researched an object and its history with the help of conservators and my faculty advisor, then presented my research to visitors," explained Tatiana.
"Tatiana has been a huge help for us at at time when we've been incredibly busy," said Lynn Grant, the museum's head conservator, who supervised Tatiana's work.
Praxis is an experiential, community-based learning program that integrates theory and practice through student engagement in active, relevant fieldwork that is integrated into academic courses. There are three types of Praxis courses, which require increasing amounts of fieldwork but do not need to be taken successively.